Top Cities for Recent Grads

Recent graduates in search of it all -- the great job, the fabulous apartment and booming city life -- should go north.

According to a study by, the site's list of Top Ten Cities for Recent Grads put Chicago, land of brutal winters and catsup-less hot dogs, at No. 1 -- thanks to its high quality of life, solid public transportation and cool architecture. Of course, the fact that it's affordable doesn't hurt either.

Compared to San Francisco, New York City and Boston (finishing at 2nd, 4th and 5th, respectively), Chicago had the lowest average rent for a one-bedroom apartment. Those rentals in the Windy City ran about $1,106 per month -- less than half of the average one-bedroom apartment in NYC.

While the list was dominated by the usual contenders, there were a few surprises.

Seattle chimed in at No. 3 because of its booming high-tech job market and natural beauty. Denver clocked in at No. 6 thanks to its position as "The Wall Street of the Rockies."

Despite being described by one writer as "a city so phony that it's not even cool to be depressed in," Los Angeles captured the No. 8 position, thanks in large part to the work and hype that accompanies the entertainment industry.

Even without a vast public transportation system, the commonly overlooked town of Houston came in at No. 7, ahead of both Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, because of its "Texas swagger, hospitality, and an unpretentious nightlife scene."

Of course there are those that would disagree. Last year and ranked Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Cleveland as the top cities for new grads, none of which appear on's 2010 list. The Wall Street Journal listed Washington, D.C., Seattle, New York City, Portland (Ore.) and Austin among its top "youth-magnet" cities. Earlier this year The Huffington Postlisted New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Cleveland and St. Louis as the top five worst cities for recent grads.

The only answer is to decide for yourself. Grads who want to do their own research can check out's Cost of Living Calculator to see how cities stack up against one another.

See apartments for rent in Chicago and all these cities in our listings.
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